Halifax Transit is hitting the brakes on its Valentine's Day contest after receiving heavy criticism online.
"The intention behind the contest was to share and collect positive stories of couples who met on transit to celebrate Valentine's Day," said Maggie Jane Spray, a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The contest was called Love in Transit and was created in hopes of receiving positive stories to lift people's spirits leading into Valentine's Day.
The winner of the contest would win a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant.
While some romantic stories were submitted, others shared stories of harassment and assault.
"What's happening on the bus is people are being approached, they don't have anywhere to go, they're being trapped, and that doesn't really sound like a cute story to me," said Megan Cox, a Halifax Transit user.
Cox says although similar situations have happened to her, she didn't report them to police. She says she is glad she voiced her concern about the contest and that Halifax Transit listened.
"I honestly didn't expect that to happen," said Cox. "I find often in these scenarios people kind of dig their heels in. Yeah, I was just really shocked to see that happen."
On Wednesday, Halifax Transit wrote in a tweet, "Based on your feedback, Halifax Transit has made the decision to cancel the "Love in Transit" contest. We thank those who submitted their stories and we will be following up to advise on how those entries will be managed."
Based on your feedback, Halifax Transit has made the decision to cancel the “Love in Transit” contest. We thank those who submitted their stories and we will be following up to advise on how those entries will be managed.— Halifax Transit (@hfxtransit) February 3, 2021
When CTV News asked police how often harassment and assaults happen on the bus, they said data revealing that information wasn't readily available and told CTV News to contact HRM.
However, HRM said to contact police.
"The only stats we have is on transit operator assaults, and there's at least five operator assaults on transit operators daily across Canada," said Ken Wilson, the transit union president. "So, if we're getting assaulted as a transit worker, I can only imagine what's happening to a passenger."